AOD 2016 - Convention Review
by Bryan Mero

As part of the press core I get to attend my fair share of events. One of my favorites is AOD (Animation On Display). There was a change of venue this year. Instead of being in Burlingame, the con was at the Santa Clara Convention Center overlooking LEVIS stadium and the recent Super Bowl. The location was great and very conveniant. The parking was FREE...yes, free...that saved some money that actually went towards buying from the dealers and artists. The convention center is big and beautiful. It was a perfect setting. The dealer hall with all the vendors and artists was easily navigated with wide open isles and room to breath or take pictures or video of your favorite cosplayers.

Speaking of cosplayers, AOD never ceases to amaze me how much work and detail go into most of the cosplay at the con. As you can see in the video above, there is hardly a chance that you can walk down the hall without seeing an amazing cosplayer. They even get into character the best they can. With my video clips they even performed better then if it were just a photo. I even got stopped a few times for my own cosplay of Jerry from Rick and Morty. It's fun to be apart of cosplay on both sides. The best part is putting a smile on someone's face.

The panels were great once again. Even though some panels drew only a few people the subject matter was still fun, from Liz Climo's Q&A session to Tommy Yune's Robotech panel. Speaking of Robotech, the live action movie just keeps moving forward. Sony now has the movie rights and they have a director. James Wan (Furious 7) will be the director. He is also slated to work on the new Aquaman movie. That is exciting news for Robotech fans but we still have a few years to wait. Other panels gave us a chance to talk to Lotus Juice, a Japanese rapper, who grew up in New Jersey but now lives in Japan. We learned what it is like to live and work in Japan, how to make Japanese curry, what VIZ media has coming up this year and sat in and bid on a few items in the charity auction. Unfortunately I couldn't attend all the panels but there were certainly something for everyone.

The gaming room is always popular with tournaments and vintage video games going on. One highlight was watching a master gamer play the original Mike Tyson's Punch Out blindfolded and going 14-0 and becoming the champion. It was fun to watch and see the room erupt with applause as he took down challenger after challenger until the final defeat of Mike Tyson. It doesn't sound that great on paper but if you have ever played the game, or any game for that matter, to win blindfolded is pretty impressive. The ball pit was also fun for the occasional gamer to fall into.

On the entertainment side of things, I was able to see Songhammer, Lotus Juice and Hideo perform. They are all very different but all have the love for music, anime and gaming. Each event was full which gave the attendees something for everyone.

Other fun things included jpop and kpop dance lessons, dance performances, karaoke, swap meet and more. It would have been tough to not have fun at this convention. It is always well organized and everyone is very friendly. I had a group of six with me and they all had a great time and brought home not only merchandise but wonderful memories. They all can't wait until next year, myself included.


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